Antipasti Recipes

Traditionally, Italians eat antipasti – meaning ‘before the meal’ – prior to digging into the first course and there are literally hundreds of Italian antipasti recipes. In fact, with antipasti, almost anything goes!

An authentic Italian antipasti recipe is supposed to waken your taste buds and can be served hot or cold. They often consist of cured meats, deliciously warm ciabatta and seasonal vegetables like olives, peppers, capers, mushrooms or artichoke hearts. Think tapas and you will have a good idea of how many different Italian antipasti recipes there are!

And for a truly authentic selection of classic Italian antipasti recipes, the great range of ideas from Gino D’Acampo has everything you need. Combining traditional recipes with a selection of his very own creations, Gino’s unique twist will inspire you to discover genuinely delicious antipasti!

From the best Italian bruschetta recipes to the delightfully delicious arancini con salsa di pomodori arrostiti (deep-fried rice balls with roasted tomato and pepper sauce) or gamberoni e calamari grigliati con mayonnaise al limone (griddled prawns and squid with chilli and lemon mayonnaise), Gino’s antipasti recipes provide a really impressive way to kick off a traditional Italian meal.

So why not explore this great selection of traditional and authentic antipasti recipes and discover something for every palate. Whether you’re cooking for two or twenty-two, Gino has tasty and easy Italian antipasti recipes ready and waiting for you!

You can find a full range of Gino’s antipasti recipes in his best-selling recipe books – along with a range of other Italian recipes such as great pizza and pasta ideas – or you can find a selection of great ideas below. Time to start cooking!

AntipastiGet Inspired

Insalata di fregola con olive, scorza d’arancia ed erbetteFregola Salad With Olives, Orange Zest & Fresh Herbs

A true Sardinian speciality, fregola is a type of pasta typically made from semolina dough. It is similar to couscous, but with larger pellets that have been toasted in the oven so it has a firmer texture and nuttier flavour. You can find fregola of differing sizes in Italian delicatessens and online – it is perfect with fish or shellfish.

4

Serves

10

Ingredients
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Frittelle di zucchine con pecorinoCourgette Fritters With Pecorino

Whenever we are in Olbia, a port town on the northeast coast of Sardinia near my home, we order courgette fritters instead of chips. They make a great side dish or snack, but if you include cheese, as I have done here, they make a more substantial first course. Pecorino sardo, a traditional Sardinian hard cheese made from sheep’s milk – is similar to the better-known pecorino romano (which...

4

Serves

10

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Vegetables

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Sardine alla griglia con salsa di capperi e prezzemoloChargrilled Sardines With Caper & Parsley Vinaigrette

It is widely believed that sardines were named after Sardinia, where they were among the first fish to be packed in oil. Today they are still relatively abundant in the island’s coastal waters and form a major part of the islanders’ diet. Pilchards are the same species but just older and larger; they can be used for this recipe too, although I prefer the flavour of young sardines. As well as...

4

Serves

8

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Insalata di sgombro affumicato con arance e finocchiSmoked Mackerel, Orange & Fennel Salad

Oranges go perfectly with smoked mackerel, particularly the red oranges that are so abundant in Sicily. Orange and fennel are a popular combination in Sicilian cuisine, especially in the city of Palermo, and with the addition of this seductively rich-tasting fish this salad becomes the star of any antipasti table.

6

Serves

12

Ingredients

Mackerel

Main Ingredient
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Involtini di melanzane ripieni di uva passa, capperi e nociRolled Aubergines Stuffed wth Raisins, Capers & Walnuts

Aubergines were introduced to the Mediterranean region by the Arabs in the Middle Ages and Sicilians use them a lot in their cooking. Stuffing sliced aubergines with cheese, breadcrumbs and other goodies is a particularly popular way of serving them. Feel free to be creative with your fillings – this recipe is not about precision. Choose the heaviest aubergines you can find and cut just before...

4

Serves

15

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Vegetables

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FrisciolasSaffron & Potato Doughnuts With Vodka & Orange

Carnival celebrations in Sardinia wouldn’t be the same without frisciolas – these delicious little saffron-flavoured doughnuts made from potatoes and dusted with orange-flavoured sugar. You can substitute the orange zest for lemon or lime zest, and amaretto and Cointreau work well instead of vodka if you prefer. Perfect with espresso.

11

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Potato

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Insalata calda di manza con carciofi, peperoncino e nociWarm Beef Salad With Artichokes, Chilli & Walnuts

Sardinia is famous for its beef, particularly that of the bue rosso (red cow), which grazes the pastures of the volcanic Montiferru area in central-western Sardinia and is considered by many to provide the finest beef in Italy. For this recipe I have taken the theme of a traditional Sardinian beef salad and have added artichokes and walnuts - which really complement the juicy sides of warm...

4

Serves

8

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Beef

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Focaccia ripienaStuffed Focaccia with Black Olives, Spinach and Mozzarella

I love this bread; it’s almost a meal in itself and could almost pass for a pizza with all the flavours I have put inside. You can be as creative as you like here and add in almost anything but the melted cheese with the strong flavour of the olives works perfectly with the spinach. This focaccia can be eaten warm or at room temperature and a slice will always be welcome in a lunchbox or on a picnic.

6

Serves

10

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Cheese

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Bombe Di VerdureItalian-Style Spring Rolls

One of my favourite oriental dishes has to be vegetable spring rolls and I make it so often at home that I had to include it in my book. It’s a fantastic dish to prepare when you have parties, because you can fry them in the afternoon and then reheat them in the oven ready for your guests. Ensure the vegetables are not too wet when putting them into the filo pastry, otherwise your spring rolls will...

4

Serves

11

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Vegetables

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Bruschette con crema d’avocadoAvocado & Smoked Paprika Bruchette

Believe it or not, I tasted my first avocado when I came to England and, contrary to the popularity of ‘tricolore salad’ in Britain, in Italy, this dish just doesn’t exist. On its own, avocado can often be bland but it’s fantastic in salads or with a spicy dish. I wanted to create a recipe with this fruit, as it has an extremely high nutritional value and helps provide many general health benefits....

4

Serves

6

Ingredients
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Involtini di melanzane ripieni di uva passa, capperi e nociRolled Aubergines With Raisins, Capers & Walnuts

Aubergines were introduced to the Mediterranean region by the Arabs in the Middle Ages and Sicilians use them a lot in their cooking. Stuffing sliced aubergines with cheese, breadcrumbs and other goodies is a particularly popular way of serving them. Feel free to be creative with your fillings – this recipe is not about precision. Choose the heaviest aubergines you can find and cut just before...

4

Serves

15

Ingredients

Vegetables

Main Ingredient
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Carpaccio di Zucchine con Borlotti, Peperoni e CapperiCourgette Carpaccio With Borlotti Beans, Peppers & Capers

This is a great vegetarian alternative to raw meat or fish carpaccio. The marinating of the thinly sliced courgettes makes them so soft they don’t need any cooking. If using small, young courgettes you can use the whole vegetable, but for larger courgettes I suggest you use the flesh only, as the seeds can be spongy when eaten raw. Just halve the courgettes lengthways, run a teaspoon down the centre...

4

Serves

11

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Vegetables

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Insalata di Finocchi, Arance e Crescione con Vinaigrette al TimoFennel, Orange & Watercress Salad with Thyme Vinaigrette

This zingy first-course salad takes only minutes to prepare yet is full of flavour and goodness. The peppery little leaves of the watercress are bursting with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making it one of our greatest natural superfoods, while the fennel and oranges are really rich in vitamin C. Try it with my Asparagus, Ricotta, Chilli and Parmesan Tartlets.

4

Serves

10

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Vegetables

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Rotolini di Zucchine Ripieni di Ricotta, Noci e Peperoni GrigliatiCourgette Roll-Ups with Ricotta, Walnuts & Chargrilled Peppers

One of the great things about these little stuffed courgette rolls is that they don't require any cooking and can be prepared ahead. All that's needed is a bottle of chilled Italian wine, some warm, crusty bread on the side and good friends to share them with. You can use hazelnuts instead of walnuts if you prefer.

6

Serves

10

Ingredients

Cheese

Main Ingredient
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Crostatine Piccanti di Asparagi, Ricotta e ParmigianoAsparagus, Ricotta, Chilli and Parmesan Tartlets

Asparagus is one of the great delicacies of the vegetable world, and my asparagus tartlets quite rightly make it centre of attention. It is cooked very briefly, then plunged into cold water to retain its texture and bright green colour. You can use pecorino cheese rather than Parmesan if you like a saltier flavour.

4

Serves

10

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Vegetables

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Avocado Grigliato Ripieno di Pomodori, Cipollotti, Olive e CapperiGrilled Avocado Stuffed With Tomatoes, Spring Onions, Olives & Capers

This dish is rather retro and I used to make it when I first came to London as a teenager. Make sure that the avocados are perfectly ripe and don’t use buffalo mozzarella, as it will release too much milk during cooking. Grilling the avocado makes it softer and more velvety, but don’t overcook or it will turn mushy. Serve with your favourite salad leaves.

4

Serves

14

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Vegetables

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Bruschetta Fai Da TeBuild Your Own Beef Bruschetta

Half the pleasure of food is being able to enjoy it with your friends and family. I love dishes that can be placed in the centre of the table so that everybody can help themselves. It's the most social form of eating and it means I'm not stuck in the kitchen! This recipes cooks the beef from scratch, but if you have any leftover roast beef from a Sunday roast by all means use that.

4

Serves

15

Ingredients

Beef

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Linguine ai Gamberi e RucolaPasta Ribbons with Prawns and Rocket

This is one of my signature dishes, created in the summer of 2003 on the island of Sardinia where my family and I were enjoying our holiday in our house on the beach. Make sure that you serve this dish as soon as you combine the pasta and the sauce. You can substitute the prawns for scallops.

4

Serves

10

Ingredients

Seafood

Main Ingredient
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Insalata di FagioliniFrench Beans with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Feta and Mozzarella

This recipe (like most of my recipes) happened by accident. I was hosting a barbecue party and a friend of mine challenged me to make something that resembled the colours of the Italian flag. I went to the fridge, got hold of everything green, white and red and came up with this masterpiece. Today, it has become one of my signature dishes among my friends and we still enjoy it at every barbecue party....

8

Ingredients

Cheese

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Zucchine e TartufoCourgettes with Truffle and Mint Dressing

This recipe sums up what this book is all about – minimum effort, maximum satisfaction! If you cannot find fresh truffles you can always use truffles preserved in jars or even truffle-flavoured olive oil.

4

Serves

7

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Vegetables

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Zucca al Forno con Peperoncino e SalviaRoasted Squash with Chilli and Sage Crumbs

I don’t about know you, but I sometimes get bored of always having potatoes with my main meal. I created this in order to still have a substantial side dish, but with more exciting colours and flavours. Try this recipe with pumpkin when it is in season and you can use Parmesan cheese instead of Pecorino.

6

Serves

8

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Vegetables

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Crocchette di Barbabietola e SalmoneBeetroot Rosti with Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Cream

I have to admit that I'm not a great lover of beetroot, probably because I don’t particularly like sweet and sour together. This, however, is one of the few ways that I will eat beetroot because it works beautifully with the smoked salmon. If you are a beetroot virgin – here you go, this is the one to try. Make sure that you cook the rostis until they are very crispy.

4

Serves

11

Ingredients

Salmon

Main Ingredient
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Conchiglie VegetarianeShell Pasta with Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts

This has to be the ultimate vegetarian pasta recipe. There’s so much goodness in this dish and it’s also really filling and extremely tasty. Some might think that the peppers could make it slightly bitter but together with the pine nuts and basil, it screams freshness and will be enjoyed by herbivores and carnivores alike.

7

Serves

9

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Vegetables

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Insalata di Pollo e ChorizoChicken and Chorizo Salad With Beans and Rocket Leaves

Every now and then I go on a health kick and watch what I eat, especially in the evenings. However, there are only so many salads you can have before you start to get a bit bored, especially during the winter months – but this is an amazing option: filling, delicious and incredibly good for you but at the same time it won’t leave you feeling hard done by, unlike some salads.

4

Serves

11

Ingredients

Chicken

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Linguine ai Frutti di MareMixed Seafood Linguine with Chilli & Cherry Tomatoes

I have to admit that my mother is not the best cook in the world unless cooking traditional Neapolitan dishes she has grown up with. However, this has to be one of her best creations that she prepares for me every time I go to visit her. It is very important for this recipe to use tinned cherry tomatoes because if you use the fresh ones, the sauce will be too watery. Do not overcook the prawns or langoustines...

4

Serves

11

Ingredients

Seafood

Main Ingredient
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Bruschetta Di Fave e MentaBroad Beans and Fresh Mint Bruschetta

Bruschetta is definitely one of the main dishes for an Italian antipasti. The freshness of the mint together with the broad beans is a fantastic combination that will fill you up and yet won’t leave you feeling heavy. You can substitute the broad beans with butter beans and if you don’t have fresh mint, use fresh leaf parsley or chives.

4

Serves

8

Ingredients

Vegetables

Main Ingredient
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Pappardelle con MelanzanePasta with Aubergines, Tomatoes and Garlic Sauce

Many people steer clear of aubergine and yet it really is an easy vegetable to prepare. In this sauce, it enhances the tomato flavour without overpowering it, so if you have children who don’t like their vegetables, try this dish – they’ll hardly know it’s there. I often serve this pasta as a starter but be careful with portion sizes as you don’t want to fill everyone up before the main....

6

Serves

10

Ingredients

Vegetables

Main Ingredient
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Scombro Grigliato Con Semi Di FinocchiettoGrilled Mackerel with Fennel Seeds and Balsamic Vinegar

When you fancy a savoury start to the morning, please try this. I love it: not only is it delicious but you can’t get anything healthier. Mackerel is an oily, coldwater fish known especially for its nutritional benefits, as it’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which are good for brain growth and protection. In fact, the omega-3 content may actually reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s...

4

Serves

10

Ingredients

Mackerel

Main Ingredient
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Gnocchi di zuccaPotato and roasted pumpkin gnocchi

Gnocchi is a firm favourite of the ladies in my life – my wife and my daughter Mia. Rather than just preparing the traditional plain gnocchi with a tomato-and-cheese-based sauce all the time, I wanted to try and create gnocchi that had so much flavour in their own right that a sauce wasn't even needed. This is what I came up with. I have also tried replacing the pumpkin with butternut squash,...

4

Serves

9

Ingredients

Potato

Main Ingredient
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Capesante brasate con piselli e pomodori secchiBraised scallops with peas and sun-dried tomatoes

I adore scallops and must admit that I don’t like to interfere by adding too many ingredients that will alter their natural flavour, but I really think this recipe is special. It is so simple and quick to prepare and is very flexible in terms of being great as a dinner for one, or a starter or a main at a dinner party. You can replace the pancetta with chorizo if you prefer, and of course...

4

Serves

9

Ingredients

Seafood

Main Ingredient
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Farfalle con noci e GorgonzolaPasta salad with walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese

Gorgonzola and walnuts have always been a great combination. I find that they work perfectly with pasta and rocket. Of course you can eat this dish hot, but if you are making it for the following day make sure you eat it at room temperature and mix well before serving. If you prefer, substitute the Gorgonzola with any hard blue cheese of your choice.

4

Serves

7

Ingredients

Cheese

Main Ingredient
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Bucatini with eggs, pancetta and Pecorino RomanoBucatini alla Carbonara

This has to be one of my favourite recipes ever, especially with this shape of pasta. Bucatini is like a thick spaghetti with a hole in the middle that runs from one end to the other. This allows the sauce to really coat the pasta inside and out beautifully. If you are a fan of a simple spaghetti dish, I recommend you try this traditional Roman recipe. You can substitute the pancetta with streaky bacon...

4

Serves

8

Ingredients

Pork

Main Ingredient
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Bruschette con pesto di pomodori secchiBruschette with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Bruschette are eaten all over Italy, and we all know and love the traditional tomato-based recipe. I, for one, certainly grew up on it. This version just adds a little twist to the classic dish and is perfect for entertaining.

4

Serves

13

Ingredients

Vegetables

Main Ingredient
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Fagioli al rosma rino con pane tostato all’aglioItalian Beans with Rosemary on Garlic Toasts

You might be tempted to think this recipe is just posh beans on toast, but to us Italians it’s an important dish, especially in regions where beans are a staple part of the diet.

10

Ingredients
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Mozzarella SfiziosaMarinated Mozzarella Balls

When you think of Italian cheese, two come to mind immediately – mozzarella and Parmesan. This recipe puts mozzarella front and centre with two different marinades that are guaranteed to impress!

2

Serves

16

Ingredients

Cheese

Main Ingredient
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